|Education for Reconstruction - Report for the Overseas Development Administration (DFID, 1996, 80 p.)|
Following a period of social upheaval or war, the causes of conflict need to be addressed. Ideological posturing is commonly perceived as one of the major factors which perpetuate unrest. Democratisation is seen as a major concept in reforming authoritarian, autocratic systems and the attitudes of individuals and encouraging the replacement of previous structures and values. In the context of education, this process of democratisation can be brought about in various ways.
3.1 Education for Democratisation
Various projects currently being implemented in Eastern Europe focus on fostering democratic attitudes. The Trans-European Mobility Scheme for University Studies (TEMPUS), introduced by the EC in 1990, aims to promote this by:
· enhancing the quality and development of higher education in Eastern Central Europe
· encouraging collaboration with Western Europe through joint activities and student/staff mobility22
22For a recent analysis of a TEMPUS project in action, see John Sayer (ed.), 'Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe', Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aims to accomplish the task of helping people to make the transition to democracy not only through democratic building programmes, but also through economic and social development projects. USAID pursues three strategic objectives [Supplementary Text (ST) 1]:
· economic reconstruction - the main objective is to foster the emergence of a competitive market-oriented economy in which the majority of economic resources are privately owned or managed
· building democracy - by supporting democratic processes, the project focuses on transparent and accountable governance and the empowerment of citizens
· social sector reconstruction - the main aim is to strengthen the capacity to manage the human dimension of transition to democracy and a market economy 23
23USAID is paying particular attention to the education sector in Armenia, including higher education. A business tutorial programme agreed with the Government is under way for the training of 2,900 students in secondary school as well as at Yerevan University in the theory and practice of market economics. Such activities will help build up the capacities of the younger generation. It was stressed in the 1995 UN Appeal that quick-impact small-scale humanitarian activities in this sector can only serve as interim measures in the hope that longer-term action will be undertaken by other donor organisations (DHA, Vol. 1. 1995).
A vital aspect in the democratisation of education is the encouragement of critical, independent and creative thinking. Owing to the fact that individuals are often obstructed in exercising their rights as citizens, projects focusing on an understanding of democratic processes24 such as voting procedures and principles and freedom of speech are necessary.
24 Thousands of Palestinian pupils have
been taking part in democracy workshops organised by the independent.
Jerusalem-based, Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy (PCPD) in the run-up
to the first Palestinian general elections which took place in November 1995.
More than 8,000 13-18 year olds and nearly 450 teachers have taken part in 152
workshops in 133 schools throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank. The project is
funded by the American Government's USAID, via the US-based International
Foundation for Electoral Systems (TES, 25.8.95).
Education for tolerance and reconciliation in ethnic and religiously divided communities is also an important aspect of democratisation. Formal instruction in schools which socialises children is one of the most direct means of teaching social values. As community leaders, parents, school authorities, teacher educators and teachers direct their attention to the planning and implementation of educational programmes for peace and tolerance, the school becomes the focus of the education of entire communities. Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO highlighted three important points in this regard in his address at the dedication of the Beit-Hashoah Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles. Teachers, parents aid organisations etc. should educate children:
· with a sense of openness and comprehension toward other people, their diverse cultures and histories and their fundamental shared humanity
· by teaching them the importance of refusing violence and adopting peaceful means for resolving disagreements and conflicts25
25UNESCO, 'Tolerance: The Threshold of Peace', 1994.
In Rwanda the Ministry of Education has emphasised as essential to processes of reconciliation that children should see themselves as part of a larger entity, namely Rwandans, as opposed to seeing themselves as part of a particular tribe.26 In different European cities, refugee students from Bosnia have founded clubs to look world-wide for available places, to study and for possible funding and scholarships. In these clubs Muslims, Croats and Serbs work together in spite of their ethnic and religious differences. UNICEF is running projects on peace education in the former Yugoslavia, but as one critic has pointed out, policy-makers seemed to be unaware of the fact that Yugoslavia had nearly 50 years' experience of education which celebrated cultural diversity.27
26 'Rebuilding a Shattered
System', TES. 18.8.95.
27 Vanessa Piggot, 'Education and Peaceful Ethnic Conflict Resolution in Yugoslavia and the Successor States' in Education in Russia, the Independent States and Eastern Europe. Vol. 13, No. 2. 1995, p.68.
3.2 Retraining of Teachers
Retraining of educational personnel at every level of the education system is necessary for the process of ideological reconstruction. This could be done in various ways - for example, in-service-training courses for key teachers who can then retrain other teachers in the 'cascade' model of training [See ST 6]. The Novalis Institute which trains South African teachers in the methods of the Waldorf schools incorporates in its training programme the teacher's vital role in contributing to the healing and reconstruction of the racist past in schools and wider communities. Whereas the apartheid system managed to keep different communities apart, the Novalis Institute has been most successful in bringing these communities together and in helping to develop new joint realities, preparing the groundwork for a new integrated community.28 In Israel, a Department for Democracy and Co-existence has been established which publicises guidelines and assists in the development of educational programmes and projects throughout the country, emphasising in-service training for teachers.29
28 Ibid., p.24.
29 Ibid., p.24.
Certain professions and subjects are deemed inappropriate in the new democratic states, for example pioneer leaders, teachers of Marxism-Leninism, and large numbers of Russian teachers in the former East Germany. In some cases, as in Germany after the War, teachers and administrative staff, like the rest of the citizens, had to go through a process of evaluation which was intended to lead to a purging of the teaching force. However, this led to the paradox - as we have seen, a pre-occupation of the Western Allies - that democratisation was achieved by undemocratic means, since measures were imposed on the people. In practice re-education in the universities, for example, meant exposing staff and students to democratic ideas and procedures. Visiting lecturers, vacation courses, visits to Wilton Park, staff and student exchanges, encouragement of individuals, discussion groups and the rebirth of student societies all played a part in educating the German people anew.
The contribution of outsiders such as agencies working in the country or officials of an occupying power should be assessed critically, since there is a distinct danger of their approaching their tasks along their own ideological lines without regard to local sensitivities.